Competition for corporate travel bookings heated up last week with
announcements from nearly a half-dozen industry players.
The announcements came as the National Business Travel
Association held its annual conference in Dallas, and in the wake
of an association survey that shows online business travel is
“Online is radically transforming the landscape of corporate
travel, and many companies are already achieving significant cost
savings through technology,” GetThere President Jeff Palmer said
during the association’s conference.
Palmer said travel professionals and company management now need
to spend more time evaluating their company’s needs and evaluating
where greater cost savings can be achieved.
A recent Runzheimer International survey of 280 corporate travel
professionals found that 40 percent of businesses had reduced their
travel budgets this year from last.
Among online corporate travel announcements made last week:
" Northwest Airlines created a new online service for its
corporate customers that allows them to access all available fares,
including special fares, for the first time. Northwest said its
CorpNet Direct targets medium and large corporations. It said there
are no setup or transaction fees.
" Southwest Airlines announced more online offerings for
business and corporate travelers with its Swabiz program that
allows them to pay for tickets via pre-entered company credit
" Travelocity unveiled Travelocity Business, a full-service
corporate travel agency for small- and medium-sized companies that
allows them to plan, buy and manage their travel. The service
essentially merges the functions of Travelocity with GetThere,
Travelocity’s sister company that already provides an online
booking tool for corporations.
Travelocity said the service is available around-the-clock, and
offers a guarantee that an agent will answer a customer’s call
within 60 seconds or the transaction fee will be waived.
Travelocity said it already had signed several clients including
Hitachi Electronic Devises USA, W.J. Bradley Co., and the Honolulu
" Expedia Corporate Travel, a full-service travel management
company operated by Expedia, announced it had added several new
clients as well, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Onyx Software
Corp., and Akibia Inc.